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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — April 15, 2016 — Issue No. 703

Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.

Oh Phooey

I am sick and tired of reading this junk in the news saying, “Outmoded Pager Technology Is Sapping HIT Budgets” and similar headlines. Reporters are running around, wringing their hands — claiming to be cool and “in the know.” They have just “discovered” that pagers are obsolete. What a bunch of baloney.

Reminds me of “The sky is falling!”

We all know that paging services have suffered great attrition since the cellphone systems have expanded their coverage so much, and are giving away free cellphones to anyone who will sign a contract.

In fact, I saw a lady interviewed on TV recently who had about a dozen free cellphones — given to her because she is poor!

Who can possibly compete with that?

However, we know that Paging Technology is still more reliable that cellular telephone service, and pagers are still being used by many health professionals, and first responders.

I guess I am the self-appointed cheerleader for paging.

Back To Paging


Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!

Now on to more news and views.

Wayne County, Illinois

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.



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There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.




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The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.

Advertiser Index

Critical Alert
Easy Solutions
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
RF Demand Solutions
UltraTek Security Cameras
WaveWare Technologies











Be sure your infrastructure is up and running with the ProTek Flex Site Monitor from PageTek.

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WaveWare Technologies

Enhancing Mobile Alert Response
2630 National Dr., Garland, TX 75041

New Products

OMNI Messaging Server

  • Combines Nurse Call Monitoring and Browser Based Messaging
  • Combines Radio Paging with Smartphone and E-mail Integration
  • Embedded System with 2 RS-232 Ports and Ethernet
  • Browser Based Messaging and Configuration
  • Smartphone Alert Notification Using Low-Latency Communication Protocols
  • TAP, COMP2, Scope, WaveWare, SNPP, PET and SIP Input Protocols
  • PIN Based Routing to Multiple Remote Paging Systems
  • 2W, 5W Radio Paging

MARS (Mobile Alert Response System)

  • Combines Paging Protocol Monitoring and Wireless Sensor Monitoring (Inovonics and Bluetooth LE)
  • Improves Mobile Response Team Productivity using Smartphone App
  • Low-Latency Alerts using Pagers, Smartphones, Corridor Lights, Digital Displays and Annunciation Panels
  • Automated E-mail Based Alert Response and System Status Reports
  • Linux Based Embedded System with Ethernet and USB Ports
  • Browser Based Configuration

STG (SIP to TAP Gateway)

  • Monitors SIP protocol (engineered for Rauland Responder V nurse call)
  • Outputs TAP protocol to Ethernet and Serial Port Paging Systems
  • Linux Based Embedded System
  • Browser Based Configuration

WaveWare Technologies


protect yourself !

Combination, Body, Desk or Dash Camera

Model EH-15 EYE-CAM

Standard Features Include:

  • 2 inch viewing screen
  • IR Night viewing up to 50 feet
  • Super HD Viewing Wide Field of View (140 degrees, 6G lens)
  • Waterproof per IP65 Specification
  • GPS Tracking (standard feature)
  • 64 GB Data Storage (standard feature)
  • 2800 mAh battery for up to 11 hours recording
  • External mini camera
  • Accessory Kit for all normal needs
  • $349.00 each

Call: 662-284-6724 (Jim Tucker)

Email address:
Web site:



Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119

Easy Solutions

Microsoft sues U.S. government over data gag orders

Credit: Pixabay

Secret data demands have become routine, and that's unconstitutional, company argues; customers deserve to know.

By Gregg Keizer FOLLOW
Computerworld | Apr 14, 2016 1:23 PM PT

Microsoft today asked a federal court to invalidate part of a 1986 law that it alleged has been abused by the government when authorities demand the company hand over customers' data, including documents, emails and other information stored in the cloud.

In a lawsuit targeting the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Microsoft asked for a judgment that would declare unconstitutional a section of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a 30-year-old law that government agencies increasingly cite when forcing email, Internet and cloud storage service providers to hand over data to aid criminal investigations.

Microsoft didn't object to the ECPA as a whole, but to what it said had become the routine issuing of gag orders alongside the demands for data.

"We believe that with rare exceptions consumers and businesses have a right to know when the government accesses their emails or records," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer, in a long post to a company blog Thursday. "Yet it's becoming routine for the U.S. government to issue orders that require email providers to keep these types of legal demands secret."

"This is a very aggressive move on Microsoft's part," said Michael Carroll, a professor of law and director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C. "They're essentially saying, 'I want to violate the gag orders, but I don't want to be sued for doing that.' So they're disputing the constitutionality of the gag orders."

Microsoft ticked off statistics to make its point that secrecy had become habitual: In the last 18 months, the Redmond, Wash. company received 5,624 federal demands for customer information or data. Of those, 2,576, or 48%, were tagged with secrecy orders that prevented Microsoft from telling customers that it had been compelled to hand over their information. About 68% of the gag orders — 1,752 to be exact — had no end date. "This means that we effectively are prohibited forever from telling our customers that the government has obtained their data," Smith said.

In the complaint filed with a Seattle federal court, Microsoft said that was unacceptable.

"There may be exceptional circumstances when the government's interest in investigating criminal conduct justifies an order temporarily barring a provider from notifying a customer that the government has obtained the customer's private communications and data," the complaint read. "But Section 2705(b) [of the ECPA] sweeps too broadly."

Microsoft asked the court to strike the section on the grounds that it violates both the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.

"I think this is a smart strategy," Chris Calabrese, vice president of policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, said of Microsoft's lawsuit. "This is important for the courts, and judges, to work out because in a lot of ways, what we need is some clarification on the secrecy [aspects of the orders]."

Calling the ECPA "antiquated," Microsoft hammered on the impact of data demands and gag orders on cloud-based services, the fastest-growing part of its business.

"The government . . . has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations," Microsoft's lawyers asserted. "As individuals and business have moved their most sensitive information to the cloud, the government has increasingly adopted the tactic of obtaining the private digital documents of cloud customers not from the customers themselves, but through legal process directed at online cloud providers like Microsoft."

"Microsoft was like the frog in boiling water," said Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. "[The gag orders] just got to be too routine. They saw it in individual cases, then in dozens, then hundreds, then thousands. They reached a breaking point, much like Apple did with unlocking orders."

In effect, what Microsoft said in its complaint is that the law has been grossly misused by the government, either through policy or practice. "Microsoft is arguing that this is a systemic problem, and gotten to the point where gag orders are issued on a blanket basis. It's interesting that they've taken the declaratory route, which is almost like a class action. This is a systemic problem [Microsoft argued], and it deserves a systemic solution," Dempsey said.

DOJ spokeswoman Emily Pierce declined to comment on the Microsoft complaint, saying, "We are reviewing the filing."

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld.
Source: Computerworld  

RF Demand Solutions

Codan Paging Transmitters

  • The smart choice for Critical Messaging
  • Proven performance in extreme conditions
  • Trusted by the World's largest mission critical security, military, & humanitarian agencies

Flexible Modern Design:

  • Analog & Digital
  • VHF, UHF & 900 MHz
  • WB, NB, & Splinter Operation
  • Multiple Frequencies & Protocols
  • High Power Output Configuration available
  • Integrates with Motorola & Glenayre Simulcast
  • Compatible with most popular Controllers

 Thousands In Use...

  • Utility Load Demand
  • Healthcare
  • Enterprise

Your US Distributor for Codan Radio Paging Equipment
847-829-4730 / /

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Prism Paging

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  • VoIP telephone access — eliminate interconnect expense
  • Call from anywhere — Prism SIP Gateway allows calls from PSTN and PBX
  • All the Features for Paging, Voice-mail, Text-to-Pager, Wireless and DECT phones
  • Prism Inet, the new IP interface for TAP, TNPP, SNPP, SMTP — Industry standard message input
  • Direct Connect to NurseCall, Assisted Living, Aged Care, Remote Monitoring, Access Control Systems

Product Support Services, Inc.

Repair and Refurbishment Services

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Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261 left arrow left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

Analyst Review Alert: Iridium Communications Inc. (IRDM)

Author: Tina Gumbley
Posted On: Posted on April 15, 2016

Wall Street analysts have favorable assessment of Iridium Communications Inc. (IRDM), with a mean rating of 1.8. The stock is rated as buy by 3 analysts, with 1 outperform and 2 hold rating. The rating score is on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 stands for strong buy and 5 stands for strong sell.

For the current quarter, the 5 analysts offering adjusted EPS forecast have a consensus estimate of $0.18 a share, which would compare with $0.17 in the same quarter last year. They have a high estimate of $0.22 and a low estimate of $0.09. Revenue for the period is expected to total nearly $104.04M from $97.01M the year-ago period.

For the full year, 5 Wall Street analysts forecast this company would deliver earnings of $0.78 per share, with a high estimate of $0.9 and a low estimate of $0.42. It had reported earnings per share of $0.78 in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the period is expected to total nearly $432.85M versus 411.38M in the preceding year.

The analysts project the company to maintain annual growth of around 12.5 percent over the next five years as compared to an average growth rate of 1.26 percent expected for its competitors in the same industry.

Among the 3 analysts Thomson/First Call tracks, the 12-month average price target for IRDM is $13 but some analysts are projecting the price to go as high as $14. If the optimistic analysts are correct, that represents a 86 percent upside potential from the recent closing price of $7.51. Some sell-side analysts, particularly the bearish ones, have called for $12 price targets on shares of Iridium Communications Inc..

In the last reported results, the company reported earnings of $0.2 per share, while analysts were calling for share earnings of $0.18. It was an earnings surprise of 11.1 percent. In the matter of earnings surprises, the term Cockroach Effect is often implied. Cockroach Effect is a market theory that suggests that when a company reveals bad news to the public, there may be many more related negative events that have yet to be revealed. In the case of earnings surprises, if a company is suggesting a negative earnings surprise it means there are more to come.

Iridium Communications Inc. provides mobile voice and data communications services through satellite to businesses, the U.S. and foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, and consumers worldwide. It offers postpaid mobile voice and data satellite communications services; prepaid mobile voice satellite communications services; broadband data services; push-to-talk services; and machine-to-machine services for sending and receiving data from fixed and mobile assets in remote locations to a central monitoring station. The company also provides other services, such as inbound connections from the public switched telephone network, short message services, subscriber identity module, activation, customer reactivation, and other peripheral services. In addition, it offers voice and data solutions, including personnel tracking devices; asset tracking devices for equipment, vehicles, and aircraft; aircraft and submarine communications applications; specialized communications solutions for high-value individuals; mobile communications and data devices for the military and intelligence community, such as secure satellite handsets, as well as offers voice, netted voice, data, messaging, and paging services; and maintenance services for the department of defense's dedicated gateway. Further, the company provides satellite handsets, personal connectivity devices, voice and data modems, broadband data devices, and machine-to-machine data devices; various accessories for its devices that include batteries, holsters, earbud headphones, portable auxiliary antennas, antenna adaptors, USB data cables, and charging units; and engineering and support services. The company sells its products and services to commercial end users through wholesale distribution network, service providers, and value-added resellers and manufacturers. As of December 31, 2015, it had approximately 782,000 billable subscribers. The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Author: Tina Gumbley
Tina provides the U.S. as well as global markets commentary that cover the stock, commodity, and currency markets. She covers latest activity, events and trends, from economic reports and financial indicators relating to individual stocks, industries, sectors, or countries. In particular, she attempts to identify emerging trends in markets that have the potential to reward early investors with outsized gains, while keeping a keen eye on risk.

Source: CWRU Observer  

Leavitt Communications


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATIONbendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone:847-494-0000
Skype ID:pcleavitt


Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety

Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!

Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide. 

Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.

DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.

Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.

Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.

Swissphone sets new standards in paging:

Paging Network

  • It’s much faster to send individual and stacked pages digitally than with analog voice.
  • If you want better indoor coverage, you put sites closer together at lower heights.
  • A self-healing system that also remains reliable in various disaster situations.
  • Place base station where you need them, without the usage of an expensive backhaul network.
  • Protect victim confidentiality and prevent unauthorized use of public safety communications, with integrated encryption service.


  • Reliable message reception, thanks to the best sensitivity in the industry.
  • Ruggedized and waterproof, IP67 and 6 1/2-feet drop test-certified products.
  • Battery autonomy of up to three months, with a standard AA battery.
  • Bluetooth enables the new s.QUAD pager to respond back to the dispatch center or fire chief.


  • Two-way CAD interfaces will make dispatching much easier.
  • The new s.ONE solution enables the dispatcher or fire chiefs to view the availability of relief forces.
  • A graphical screen shows how many of the dispatched team members have responded to the call.

Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Visit: or call 800-596-1914.

Leavitt Communications

its stil here

It’s still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250s, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

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Phil Leavitt

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies

Preferred Wireless

preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
4ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares
3CNET Platinum Controllers
2GL3100 RF Director
1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis — Configurable
1GL3000 L — 2 Cabinets, complete working, w/spares
35SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1Unipage — Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
10Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers
15Glenayre Complete GPS Kits
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
Link Transmitters:
6Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
1Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters:
19Motorola Nucleus 125W CNET
6Motorola Nucleus 350W CNET
11Motorola Nucleus 350W NAC
14Motorola Nucleus 125W NAC
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
3Glenayre QT-100C
UHF Paging Transmitters:
16Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
4Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
 Nucleus Power Supplies
 Nucleus NIU, Matched Pairs
 Nucleus GPS Reference Modules
 Nucleus GPS Receivers
 Nucleus Chassis
 Glenayre 8500, PAs, PSs, DSP Exciters
 Glenayre VHF DSP Exciters


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
Telephone: 888-429-4171
(If you are calling from outside of the USA, please use: 314-575-8425) left arrow

Preferred Wireless


Critical Alert

spacer cas logo

Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

Formed in 2010, CAS brought together the resources and capabilities of two leading critical messaging solutions providers, UCOM™ and Teletouch™ Paging, along with lntego Systems™, a pioneer in next-generation nurse call systems. The result was an organization that represented more than 40 years of combined experience serving hospitals and healthcare providers.

CAS was created to be a single-source provider for hospitals and healthcare facilities in need of advanced nurse call and communications technologies.

Unlike our competitors, our product development process embraced the power of software from its inception. This enables us to design hardware-agnostic solutions focused on built-in integration, flexibility and advanced performance.


Nurse Call Solutions

Innovative, software-based nurse call solutions for acute and long-term care organizations.


Paging Solutions

To this day, for critical messaging, nothing beats paging. It’s simply the best way to deliver a critical message.



© Copyright 2015 - Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.

BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 19, No. 15April 13, 2016

Updated Antenna Structure Compliance Manual Available

BloostonLaw has updated its Antenna Structure Compliance Manual to incorporate recent changes in FCC Rules governing towers and other antenna structures, including the rule making that modified requirements governing ASR posting and monitoring for tower lighting outages, among other things. We have also added an update on FCC enforcement actions against tower owners/users, and related compliance instructions (including a recent “Best Practices” circular issued by the FCC and OSHA concerning equipment installation on antenna structures). The cost of the manual for a new purchaser is $750; for clients that have already purchased the manual in the past, the updated version is only $250.


Comment Deadline Established for Rate-of-Return FNPRM

On April 12, the FCC published the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking portion of its Rate-of-Return Order. Comments are due May 12, and reply comments are due June 13.

As we reported in the previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FNPRM seeks comment on proposed rule changes to the accounting and affiliate transaction rules to “eliminate inefficiencies and provide guidance to rate-of-return carriers regarding [the FCC’s] expectations for appropriate expenditures.” The FNPRM also seeks comment on:

  • establishing measures governing prudent or reasonable expense levels for certain expense categories.
  • ways in which the cost allocation procedures between regulated and non-regulated activities and the affiliate transaction rules can be improved to reduce the potential for a carrier to shift costs from non-regulated to regulated services or to the regulated affiliate.
  • additional options for disaggregating support for those discrete areas that are served by an unsubsidized competitor and other issues associated with implementation of the competitive overlap rule.
  • proposals to adopt a mechanism to provide additional support to unserved Tribal lands.
  • additional proposals to modify or potentially eliminate certain eligible telecommunications carriers’ (ETC) certifications and reporting obligations so as to streamline ETC reporting requirements

Carriers interested in filing comments on the FNPRM should contact the firm without delay. We note, however, that the FCC has only published the FNPRM portion and not the Order portion of the Rate-of-Return Order and FNPRM , and as such the effective dates for those rules adopted in the Order portion are not yet established.

FCC Releases ACAM 2.2; Commences Challenge Process to Competitive Coverage

On April 7, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the release of a new version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), v2.2, which incorporates the inputs and modifications recently adopted by the Commission in the recent Rate-of-Return Reform Order (See BloostonLaw Telecom Update of April 11). Additionally, the Public Notice announced the release of four illustrative reports based on the new ACAM, and the commencement of the challenge process. Comments to challenge the coverage data for competitors are due April 28.

ACAM 2.2. Version 2.2 of the A-CAM utilizes an input value of 9.75 percent for the cost of money, incorporates updated broadband coverage to reflect the publicly available June 2015 FCC Form 477 data, and excludes from support calculations census blocks where the incumbent provider reports at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream (10/1 Mbps) using either fiber to the premises (FTTP) or cable technology. This information is intended to assist rate-of-return carriers that are considering whether to elect to receive model-based support; however, v2.2 of A-CAM is not the final version of the model. The final version of the model will be announced in a subsequent Public Notice, after the completion of the challenge process (discussed below) and final updates to the broadband coverage data in the model.

Illustrative Reports. The FCC also released four illustrative reports. Report 6.1 shows the preliminary estimates in v2.2 of the state-level offer of model-based support for each carrier that is eligible to elect model-based support because it meets the condition that it has deployed 10/1 Mbps broadband to less than 90 percent of the eligible locations in its study area(s) in the state. Report 6.2 shows preliminary estimates for the specific broadband obligations for each individual carrier, and its calculated density based on its submitted study area boundaries, land area, and Census housing unit data. Report 6.3 shows, based on Form 477 data submitted through February 19, 2016, carriers that have deployed 10/1 Mbps broadband to less than 90 percent of their eligible locations, to 90 percent or more of their eligible locations, or with no locations eligible for the offer of model-based support. Report 6.4 shows the support for each study area consistent with the format used in previously released illustrative reports. Copies of these reports can be obtained here .

Challenge Process. As noted previously, the broadband coverage for unsubsidized competitors based on June 2015 FCC Form 477 data will be subject to a streamlined challenge process. Competing providers must meet the recent 2016 urban rate survey limits, as well as the latest minimum usage allowance requirements, in the relevant census blocks in order to be deemed an “unsubsidized competitor.” Competitors that have made any corrections to their FCC Form 477 June 2015 data since February 19, 2016 are specifically invited to file comments informing the FCC of such corrections, as well as competitors that have newly deployed broadband in particular census blocks since June 2015 As noted above, comments to challenge the coverage data for competitors are due April 28.

Law & Regulation

FCC Plans Largest Fine to Date for Lifeline Overbilling

On April 7, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it plans to fine Total Call Mobile $51,070,322 for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of duplicate and ineligible consumers into the Lifeline program. This is the largest fine that the FCC has proposed against a Lifeline provider. Further, the FCC has indicated in its formal notice that it may initiate proceedings to revoke Total Call’s authorizations to operate as a Lifeline provider and a common carrier.

According to a press release, the FCC alleges that since 2014, Total Call has requested and received an estimated $9.7 million dollars in improper payments from the Universal Service Fund for duplicate or ineligible consumers despite repeated and explicit warnings from its own employees, in some cases compliance specialists, that company sales agents were engaged in widespread enrollment fraud.
The Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of the California-headquartered Total Call, which provides Lifeline services in at least 19 states and territories. The Strike Force’s investigation found that Total Call apparently engaged in systematic and egregious misconduct, including the following alleged violations:

  • Total Call sales agents enrolled tens of thousands of duplicate consumers.
  • Total Call was aware of a systematic problem of duplicate enrollments as early as November 2013, a full year before the Universal Service Fund administrator raised the issue with the company.
  • During the fourth quarter of 2014, 99.8 percent of Total Call’s enrollments nationwide involved overriding the third-party verification system designed to catch duplicate enrollments.
  • Sales agents shared eligibility documents, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, in order to use the documents to conduct multiple enrollments.
  • Employees staffing an internal sales agent help line advised agents on how to get around or disguise defective identification or eligibility documentation for applicants. For example, in one instance a help line employee counseled a sales agent to put his or her finger over the word “void” on an eligibility document.
  • As early as May 2014, employees told Total Call management that they were aware of increasing instances of eligibility fraud, such as the repeated use of single SNAP cards with no name or other identifying information to enroll ineligible or duplicate consumers. Despite this, no meaningful changes to employee training or verification procedures were made.
  • One sales agent used the identification from a stolen wallet to register 10 Lifeline cell phones in the name of the wallet’s owner without his/her permission. When that agent was arrested and charged with identity theft, he/she possessed not only the wallet but 12 additional Total Call-issued Lifeline cell phones.

A copy of the full Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) is available here. It is important to note that an NAL details the FCC’s allegations of unlawful conduct, and is not a final finding.

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for April Open Meeting

On April 7, the FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the April Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 28, 2016:

  • a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on proposals to support real-time text communications over Internet Protocol communications networks, to improve the accessibility of these networks for consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech disabled. (GN Docket No. 15-178)
  • a Tariff Investigation Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing a new regulatory framework for the provision of business data services. (WC Docket Nos. 16-XX, 15-247, 05-25)

The Open Meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m., and will be webcast live at .

Enforcement Bureau’s Wireless Top-10 Violations List

At this month’s Land Mobile Communications Committee (LMCC) annual meeting, the deputy chief of the Enforcement Bureau presented his “Top-10 List” for wireless violations. Interestingly enough, there was a common theme with most of the violation types that the Enforcement Bureau discussed — namely, interference. Absent from the list however were antenna tower violations which we know remain an important compliance issue for the FCC nonetheless.

 10. Non-compliance with the narrowbanding mandate. Enforcement stated that this is more prevalent with older systems that have not been replaced or upgraded.
 9. Poor Engineering. Engineering which causes interference to co-channel stations, or interference resulting from spurious emissions and harmonics.
 8. Licenses held by corporations that have been sold, suspended or are otherwise out of business. This makes it difficult for the FCC to resolve interference issues that could normally be handled by a simple phone call.
 7. Unlicensed operation. This problem is on the rise due to the purchase of radio equipment from retail outlets, without attention to the need for FCC licensing. Offending users are most prevalent in the retail, hospitality and auto industries.
 6. Itinerant or special event interference. Interference between special event radio operations under special temporary authority (STA) ( e.g., car races, rock concerts, etc.) and incumbent licensed operations. Caused by frequency congestion which makes interference free operation under STA more difficult. Special event operations must be careful to coordinate with incumbents to avoid interference.
 5. Failure to properly monitor shared channels before transmitting (for Part 90 and other shared spectrum operations)
 4. Failure to properly identify your station call sign: Enforcement is going to crack down on this because it frustrates efforts to identify the source of interfering signals.
 3. Frequency Warehousing. Created by a failure to construct or by permanent discontinuance of operation without returning spectrum to FCC.
 2. Control Channel Trunking on Conventional Use Channels
 And the number one wireless enforcement issue . . .
 1.Monopolizing shared channels. Shared channels must be shared, and licensees that broadcast signal continuously or fail to monitor before sending signals can be fined.

Any client experiencing interference issues — whether receiving interference or being accused of causing it — should contact our office promptly in order to minimize the potential for the filing of a formal complaint with the FCC. Additionally, if you have radio licenses that are in the incorrect name, please contact our office so that we can assist you in updating your license record — whether it be a name change or license assignment/transfer.


Municipal Broadband Study Released

On April 6, the State Government Leadership Foundation issued a study entitled The Impact of Government-Owned Broadband Networks on Private Investment and Consumer Welfare. The study, authored by Dr. George Ford, Chief Economist of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Public Policy Studies, proclaims to “provide an economic framework that aids in understanding what municipal broadband is and what it is not; and how one might reasonably support it or how one might reasonably reject it.”

According to the study:

  • Municipal broadband is motivated by the alleged social payoffs of the technology.
  • The evidence confirms that municipal broadband is in almost all scenarios subsidized entry.
  • Economics indicate that subsidized municipal broadband is incapable of increasing competition, if competition is measured as the number of firms offering service in a given area.
  • Subsidized municipal entry is prone to be predatory.
  • The mere threat of municipal entry can reduce private sector investment because it is disconnected from profit maximization and asymmetrically subsidized.
  • Under economic theory, the unqualified support of municipal broadband as a means to create “more competitors” cannot be supported.
  • Incurring the massive fixed and sunk costs of building one more broadband network, especially with subsidy dollars, is a very inefficient way to obtain the benefits of broadband.
  • Many (but not all) of the provisions of state laws overseeing municipal broadband are seen as having a sound economic basis.
  • Broadband is economically important, but most of the economic gains attributed to municipal broadband systems are based on economic migration rather than economic development.

A copy of the full study can be found here .

Second Public Workshop on Video Marketplace to Be Held on April 25

On April 12, the FCC’s Media Bureau announced the agenda for its upcoming workshop to examine competition, diversity, and innovation in the video marketplace. The workshop will be held at the FCC on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 10:00 am, and will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC's web page at .

The workshop will consist of two panels: first, Chris Kyle, Vice President, Industry Relations and Regulatory, Shentel; Heather McCallion, Vice President, Programming, Atlantic Broadband; Judy Meyka, Executive Vice President, Programming, National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC); Duke Milunovich, Sales and Marketing Director, Volcano Vision, Inc.; and Jimmy Todd, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, NexTech will discuss challenges faced by smaller multichannel video programming distributors that affect carriage of independent programming.

After lunch, Eric Easter, Chief Executive Officer, BLQBOX Digital; Michael Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, Ride Television Network; Clifford Franklin, Chief Executive Officer, GFN-TV; Patrick Gottsch, Founder and President, RFD-TV; Brian Newton, Creative Director and Head of New Media, The Africa Channel; and Daphna Ziman, President and Creative Director, Cinemoi will discuss challenges faced by independent programmers seeking carriage on video distribution platforms.


MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on May 31. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.

JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes outage, unfulfilled service request, and complaint data, broken out separately for voice and broadband services, information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable. Form 481 must not only be filed with USAC, but also with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority, as appropriate. Although USAC treats the filing as confidential, filers must seek confidential treatment separately with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority if confidential treatment is desired.

JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the Commission an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the Commission’s rules.

JULY 29: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 29). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.

AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). Because July 31 falls on a Sunday this year, the filing will be due August 1. This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31, 2013. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31, 2014); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2014), and March 31, 2015, for lines served as of September 30, 2014).

Calendar At-A-Glance

Apr. 14 – Reply comments are due on Consumer Signal Boosters Public Notice.
Apr. 18 – Comments are due on Refreshing the Record in Sandwich Isles Reconsideration Proceeding.
Apr. 18 – Reply comments are due on AM Revitalization FNPRM.
Apr. 19 – Reply comments are due on Video Programming Diversity NOI.
Apr. 28 – Comments to challenge coverage data for competitive carriers are due.
Apr. 28 – Reply comments are due on Refreshing the Record in Sandwich Isles Reconsideration Proceeding.

May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
May 2 – Deadline to designate USAC Lifeline Recertification preference.
May 2 – Comments are due on TCPA Home Office Line Classification proceeding.
May 9 – Comments are due in Emergency Alert System NPRM Proceeding.
May 12 – Comments are due on Rate-of-Return FNPRM.
May 17 – Reply comments are due on TCPA Home Office Line Classification proceeding.
May 27 – Comments are due on Internet Privacy NPRM.
May 31 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.

Jun. 1 – Deadline to increase local residential rates above $18 to avoid reductions in support.
Jun. 7 – Reply comments are due in Emergency Alert System NPRM Proceeding.
Jun. 13 – Reply comments are due on Rate-of-Return FNPRM.
Jun. 27 – Reply comments are due on Internet Privacy NPRM.

Jul. 1 – FCC Form 481 (Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form) is due.
Jul. 1 – FCC Form 690 (Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Winner Annual Report) is due.
Jul. 29 – Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Report is due.

Aug. 1 – FCC Form 507 (Universal Service Quarterly Line Count Update) is due.
Aug. 1 – International Traffic Data Report is due.

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or .

Canadian police have had master key to BlackBerry's encryption since 2010

And it was used to intercept and read messages

By Nick Statt on April 14, 2016 05:44 pm

Canadian police have been in possession of a BlackBerry master encryption key since 2010, according to a pair of blockbuster reports today from Vice News and its sister site Motherboard . The reports say the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) used the key in a criminal investigation between 2010 and 2012 to intercept over one million BlackBerry messages sent using its proprietary BBM service.

It's unclear how the RCMP obtained the key because discussions on the matter in court remain heavily redacted in court documents. But those documents now confirm police keep a server in Ottawa to "simulates a mobile device that receives a message intended for [the rightful recipient]," Vice reports. From there, the "BlackBerry interception and processing system" decrypts the message using the master key. It's also unclear whether the key has since been changed, and if Canadian police forces are continuing to use the interception system.

BlackBerry has for some time used a global encryption key it says only it possesses to seal off BBM messages to and from its devices. The company has shied away from saying these communications are completely protected , and CEO John Chen has said in the past his company is willing to cooperate with law enforcement under special circumstances. "We reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests," he wrote on BlackBerry's blog last year. Nonetheless, the revelations are chilling, raising the possibility that Canadian BlackBerry owners have for years been vulnerable to government surveillance. As Vice writes:

And if the global key is still sitting on a server in the RCMP's headquarters, the potential consequences could be significant. Although it wouldn't offer police a backdoor into most of its government and business clients, who make up BlackBerry's core constituency, it would mean that police enjoyed years of access to Canadians' personal cellphones without the public being any the wiser.

It's worth noting BlackBerry's enterprise-grade encryption for businesses allows those companies to use their own key. So the RCMP's system does not appear to allow Canada police to decrypt corporate communications. However, the reports explain how thousands of BlackBerry users' messages were scooped up as part of "Project Clemenza," a RCMP investigation into a mafia-related murder. After members of a Montreal crime gang pled guilty in 2011 to having played a role in the murder, some 3,000 court documents were made public and later obtained by Vice.

Device encryption is a hot topic in the tech industry given the recent showdown between Apple and the FBI . Whether tech companies should cooperate with law enforcement by either creating backdoors into devices or aiding police in special investigations is a legal grey area. Apple refused the government's requests to break into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook and wanted the matter settled by Congress . Yet the FBI managed to break into the device using a third-party method , leaving the situation unsettled. A separate case in New York regarding an iPhone involved in a methamphetamine smuggling case is set to continue as both Apple and the FBI are trying to set a legal precedent for future cases.

Whether BlackBerry has worked closely with the Canadian government, and whether it continues to do so, is an open question. The company declined to comment when asked by Vice, as did the RCMP. But the documents indicate the RCMP and BlackBerry have communicated about intercepting messages and the phone maker may have provided assistance. In one transcript, RCMP inspector Mark Flynn testified to advise against revealing details about the encryption key because it could harm BlackBerry's business. "It is not a good marketing thing to say we work with the police," Flynn reportedly said.

Update at 6:27PM ET on Thursday, April 14th: Clarified that BlackBerry encrypts messages with a global encryption key sent using its BBM service, not standard text messages or messages sent using other apps.

Source: The Verge  

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